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Mideast violence met with scorn and disgust

July 26, 2006

Re "Israeli Missiles Rip Into Medics' Esprit de Corps," July 25

Israeli soldiers are pinpoint bombing Red Cross ambulances. If this isn't a war crime, then what is? When is the United States going to wake up and see Israel for the rogue nation of terrorists it is? If Israel wants to conduct a war in which it commits crimes against humanity daily, then we must cut all ties and condemn it from Washington if we are to have any credibility in the international community.

JOHN ZAVESKY

Riverside

Re "Who says war has to be proportional?" Opinion, July 23

Jonathan Chait does not address the real reason why a disproportionate response to aggression is wrong. The traditional view of a just war precludes a military response to such a degree that the harmful effects to civilians outweigh whatever beneficial effects there may be in terms of self-defense.

It is not a question, as he contends, of whether the counteroffensive is working -- although a reasonable likelihood of achieving a just result is another factor to weigh in determining whether the response is morally permissible.

The fact that other nations, including our own, have used disproportionate means in the past by targeting civilian populations does not make Israel's disproportionate actions just.

MICHAEL O'HEARN

Oxnard

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Chait is entirely correct that what matters is not the proportionality of Israel's response but whether the response achieves its purpose, which is to disarm Hezbollah by force because persuasion certainly has not worked.

It is highly doubtful, however, that conventional military action will achieve this any more than it has in Iraq.

Modern Islamic terrorism is simply another form of mafia, no different than the drug cartels or classic mafias of the criminal world. To use conventional military force against these terrorists is to give them a legitimacy they do not deserve. We don't call out the National Guard to fight street gangs or chase narcotics dealers; we beef up the police to go after them.

In the final analysis, small nobodies need small means, consistently and forcefully applied, to snuff them out. Don't give them the dignity of sending in the Marines.

MAUDE HAM

Burbank

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Re "Israeli warplanes hitting fleeing Lebanese civilians," July 24

Is this what "never again" has finally come to: the collective punishment of innocent civilians in Lebanon and a pledge to turn back the clock there by 20 years? Wasn't that the way of the Axis powers in World War II? As one who has throughout my lifetime protested anti-Semitism, I must warn American supporters of Israel that this overreaction against the people of Lebanon is likely to spark a violent outburst of anti-Semitism throughout the world.

RALPH SHAFFER

Pomona

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